If I struggle with anger issues and ga’avah what could I do to start to get rid of these traits?
And the only answer is to learn the textbooks, li’havdil, the mussar seforim that teach about these things. Learn Mesillas Yesharim again and again. If you learn the right seforim you will get the right ideas into your head.
Let me explain: You have to know that when a person is a ba’al ka’as it’s because he doesn’t know that anger is an ugly thing. It may be wrong but it’s not ugly. Suppose a person knows that it’s wrong – that it’s disgusting – to walk in the street without any pants on. He wouldn’t do it. He’s ashamed. He can’t do it. It’s too embarrassing. If you learn the right seforim, you’ll realize that ka’as is like losing your pants. “Oh,” you’ll say, “well, that’s something else.” It’s shameful. It’s disgusting. You will learn that ka’as is a shame for you. Once you get that into your head, by means of the seforim, now you’re ready to conquer ka’as.
You have to understand how ugly ga’avah is. Ga’avah is ridiculous. It’s stupid. When a person learns this from seforim, when he really understands this, then he’ll be able to overcome it.
So the first thing is to learn Mesillas Yesharim again and again. Get into your head the true ideals, the true attitudes, and then you’ll be able to overcome all those things that find a place in your mind only because you don’t realize how wrong they are.
TAPE #E-238 (July 2000)